Ten Days and Nine Nights: an Adoption Story
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2009.
Award-winning writer/illustrator Yumi Heo has created a delightful adoption story in under 150 words. Geared for the older sibling-to-be (which is to say, 3+) it is, for this reason, an adoption story with a twist. Most such stories (and there are plenty of Asian-adoption stories to choose from) are written from the point-of-view of the adoptive child or else the mother/father. And of course, this viewpoint is one that cannot be ignored no matter how precious the incoming cargo!
This story is an easy-to-read account of the sibling-to-be's ten-day odyssey of anticipation. Each day is ticked off on a calendar as preparations are made: "I wash my old teddy bear. I have four days and three nights." In this way, the book is also useful to reinforce counting to ten, or the reading of number words.
Another interesting feature is found in the fact that this new family member is Korean, and the family-in-waiting is Korean-American; the big sister redecorates her bedroom with a poster that has Korean words. Most Asian adoption stories centre on the Chinese experience, although Jin Woo, by Eve Bunting, is another adoption story set against a Korean backdrop.
But the cultural backdrop in an adoption story, as lovely as it is, can never take centre stage; what really matters is the final, climactic outcome, the happy ending. One can easily see this on the last page of the story: the tickled-pink big sis holding a baby in a matching dress and smiling: I have a new baby sister.
07 June 2009
Karmel Schreyer writes educational materials for Asian children and is the author of the young-adult novels, Naomi: The Strawberry Blonde of Pippu Town and A Singing Bird Will Come: Naomi in Hong Kong.